Teachers under 'great' pressure from pupils and parents, admits education secretary

'We need a period now of less change' in policy, Damian Hinds says

Shaun Connolly
Friday 20 July 2018 22:49
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Britain's Education Secretary Damian Hinds arrives in Downing street
Britain's Education Secretary Damian Hinds arrives in Downing street

Teachers are under “great” pressure thanks to full classrooms and demanding parents, the education secretary has admitted.

Damian Hinds acknowledged extra stresses placed on educators and also suggested schools were a “special case” for funding, along with the NHS which has just received a major budget boost.

But Labour hit out at what it called years of cuts to teachers’ pay and school budgets.

Mr Hinds told The Guardian: “Email makes contact from and with parents much more frequent and there can be an expectation of rapid response.

“All of us get this in our working lives, but when you are a teacher dealing with a classroom full of kids, with parents who have high expectations, then I think that pressure can be particularly great.

“One of my commitments to the profession is: I can’t promise [there will be] no change but I can say we need a period now of less change and making sure that there is a good period of time to adjust before something new comes in.”

On funding, Mr Hinds said: “Education is a special case too. We’re responsible for helping parents, supporting them in the bringing up of the next generation.

“We’re responsible for helping to drive productivity, which drives economic growth.

“We need people to fill the jobs of the future, and some of those we can’t predict yet what they are, but we are also in the business of helping kids grow up into happy and fulfilled adults. So education is absolutely a special case.”

Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “Although any step to support staff is welcome, this doesn’t make up for eight years of failure under the Tories, which have seen teachers’ pay cut and school budgets squeezed.

“Thanks to campaigning by teachers across the country, ministers have finally conceded that their workloads have become unacceptable.

“The best thing the Government could do for teachers’ morale is commit to new funding to give our teachers the pay they deserve.”

Earlier this year, more than half of teachers in a Leeds Beckett University survey said they had a diagnosed mental health issue.

“Excessive workloads” and growing financial pressures on education staff were among the reasons given for the problems.

Additional reporting by PA

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